Chitral Valley is one of the most beautiful and scenic valley in the Northern areas of Pakistan. Chitral Valley comprises of further many small valleys like ; Kalash Valleys, Ayon valley, Darosh Valley, Booni, Shandoor,Ghizar and Karombar Valley.
Chitral is a district in the Khayber Pakhtoon Kha province of Pakistan. It is located extreme in the North of Pakistan. Chitral is famous for its beautiful valleys,beautiful Chitrali people and Chitrali faces, Polo game, many fruits like pomegranate,almond,walnuts and many others.
The top tourist attractions in Chitral Valley:
Chitral is mostly overlooked by tourists due to its long , tired , mountaineous and dangerous roads leading to Chitral.But, many tourists from Pakistan and other countries visit Chitral in summer.
Chitral was a separate princely state until 1969. In 1969 the Mahtars of Chitral joined in Pakistan and it became the district of KPK province. Chitral is located along side the River Chitral at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of Hindu Kush, which is 25,289 feet (7708m).
How to reach Chitral:
There are two routes to reach Chitral Valley, via Lowari top and via KKH and Gilgit Baltistan. The later is not considered fit both economically and safety aspect. Later is used very rarely.
If you are going from Lahore, first you have to go to Rawalpindi ( Pir Wadahi Adda). From Pir Wadhai adda Rawalpindi , two or three coasters leave daily at 8 P.M. The fair for one side from Rawalpindi to Chitral city is 1000/- PKR. The journey from Rawalpindi to Chitral is about 13-16 hours.
The coaster will reach you at Lowari Pass early in the morning ( about 8 a.m) .Lowari Pass consists of Lowari Top and Lowari Tunnel. Lowari tunnel is hardly open one or two days in a week. The government of Pakistan has announced to open the Lowari tunnel in March 2017.
So,most probably , you will access tunnel till your next tour in summer 2017. But, sincerely, if you want to enjoy and wanted to make your journey full of adventour and thrill go through Lowari Top.
Lowari Top, the world`s fifth most dangerous road , is a muddy and small stones mixed zig-zag road which leads you right in the Chitral Valley in about 1:30 hours.
The first town en-route to Chitral you will visit is Darosh. Darosh is a small town and famous for its wooden works. Hoteling is extreme cheap in Darosh. You can book a room from 400-600/- for a day.
After Darosh, Ayon village come on the way to chitral and after Ayon, you will enter the Chitral city.
Tourists Attractions in Chitral City:
The Chitral is a very old and historical city. The rulers of Chitral were called Mahtar and still their name is used with great respect in Chitral Valley.
The city itself has many charms to pursue the glory of Mahtar`s. The main and must visit places in the Chitral city are :
The Shahi Masjid or Shahi Mosque is the main tourist attraction in the Chitral city. The mosque is built on the same design and material as Shahi Masjid of Lahore. The red marbles shines out and enhance the glory of mosque. The big domes and minarets of mosque cast a majestic spell over the viewers. Inside the mosque there are graveyards of Mahatars of Chitral. The mosque is built at Muglai architecture style. The main madrassa of Chitral has also been working in the masjid. The Shahi Mosque of Chitral is not as big as Shahi Masjid of Lahore. The walls and main gate of masjid has beautiful art of Mughali style. A small garden outside the mosque adds more charm and attraction in the beauty.
Shahi Msjid Chitral
The snow covered peaks of Hindu Kush mountains over the domes makes all the scene majestic and touches the soul. You cannot miss the Shahi Masjid during your tour to the Chitral Valley.
The Shahi Qila or Shahi Fort, along the Chitral river leaves deep impression over travelers. It is almost close to the Shahi Mosque over the bank of river. The red bricks of Fort sprinkles from distances. The Mahtars of Chitral used to live here and run the administration of the state. Now, its under Army control and is well maintained. It is the second main tourist attraction in Chitral city. Any tour to Chitral without visiting Shahi Fort will be incomplete.
Shahi Fort Chitral
Old Shahi Bazar:
The old shahi bazar is the main bazar in the Chitral and holds many old shops and buildings. Mostly hostels in Chitral are located here. The hoteling here, is not costly at all. You can book a room from 500 to 1500 with wi-fi, electricity,generator or UPS facility with furnished rooms.
At day time, the bazar has great hustle and bustle with noisy traffic and pollution. At night , it becomes the most peaceful place.
Chitrali Cap, Chitrali overcoat and many other hand crafted stuff like hand bags, Dopatas, bangles and other stuff is of worthy buying in Chitral especially the Chitrali Cap or Chitrali Topi.
Chitral is located at the foot of the mighty Tirich Mir
Governor is at some ascent. You can go there by hiking or or can book a car or jeep to visit there. From Governor house you can view the whole Chitral city.
Chitral Air Port is also of worthy seeing. It is one of the highest altitude located airport in the world. The Chitral airport is also located on the bank of River Kunar ( Chitral river). There is only a single runway. Two flights operate from Islamabad to Chitral weekly.
The Chitral Air port located along side the River Chitral
Chitral has no special food item to amuse the tummy. The cow meat and rice are served with green chille in hotels commonly. The Chicken Karahi, Mutton Karahi, and fast food also available easily at hotels.
Daily two mini buses (coasters) leave for Rawalpindi from Chitral at 8 a.m with a much fair fair of 1o00/- per person.
The other mini wagons (hiaces) also leave for Upper Dir, Timergrah, and Peshawar daily.
Chitral city is just a starting point to the nature beauty. The real beauty of valley lies in Booni and Shandoor.
The Polo and soccer (football) is the main sports played in Chitral. Shandoor Polo festival is celebrated every year at Shandoor. At the highest polo ground of the world the matches between Chitral and Gilgit-baltistan team are played with great zeal and passion.